How To Dominate the Google Map Pack Listings
A Free Tutorial for Your Dental Practice
Important! If you're signing up with us for SEO services, we do all of this for you. We design the card, have it printed and delivered to your office. And there's no extra charge. It's all part of the service.
Ranking well in the Google Map Pack can mean a significant increase in new patients. While it is believed that your site’s organic page ranking may have an effect on your map ranking this effect is minimal. We know for sure that the two most significant factors are the number of reviews you have, and your average review score.
Of these two, the most important is the number of reviews. A dental practice with a 4.0 rating and 50+ reviews will almost always outrank a practice with a 5.0 rating but only a handful of reviews. This is because Google knows that not all the reviews are necessarily legit. Often when a new business is started, the owner asks friends and family to post reviews to get things started. For this reason, Google places more trust in the number of reviews as a reflection of a thriving business than the review score itself.
In addition, Google gets justifiably suspicious if all the reviews came in around the same time, and then activity largely stopped. This is a sure sign that the bulk of the reviews are not from actual patients.
What follows is our proven strategy for getting a steady stream of 5 star reviews. As your number of reviews climbs, so does your position in the map pack results.
People click on map pack results all the time, and you'll be surprised at how easy it is take first position here. All it takes is consistently applying the strategy we outline here.
70% of patients will leave a review if you ask nicely!
While most people are willing to leave a review for you if they are pleased with your service, there are two problems. First, they have to remember to do it. If the request was verbal only, there’s a good chance they’ve forgotten by the time they get home or back to work. Second, they have to find your Google Business listing, then find the ‘Write a Review’ button. While this isn’t difficult, many people are not tech-savvy and even this simple task may seem too intimidating for them to follow through, despite good intentions.
Make It Easy For Them
The key is to make it easy for them. By providing them with a business card with an easy-to-enter shortlink, and an easy-to-scan QR code you not only give them a physical reminder, but make it effortless to leave that review because the links take them directly to your review page. All they need to do is click on 5 stars, write a sentence or two, and they’re done.
And your practice gets a steady stream of new 5-star reviews, which Google sees as being a great sign of a thriving practice that takes good care of its patients.
By providing a card like this to your satisfied patients, you make it easy for them to leave a review while giving them a physical reminder to do so.
Step By Step Instructions
The cost of creating these cards is minimal. We even provide links to a couple of good online printers in the U.S. who will print your cards for a very reasonable fee and ship them directly to your office. The card we’ve provided is an example only. Of course you can lay yours out any way you like. Feel free to use our design as inspiration.
Step 1: Create a Shortlink
A shortlink is vital. It makes it much easier for people who don’t have a QR scanner app on their phone to reach your reviews page. You can get a free, reliable account at bit.ly – one of the most common shortlink providers.
1A. Go to bit.ly and sign up for an account. It’s free.
1B. Get your Google Business Review URL. This is easy to do. Search Google for ‘your city’ + ‘dentist’. You may need to click the ‘More Places’ button if your practice doesn’t show up in the top 3. Find your practice and click on the name. This will open your Google Business listing. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the Review Summary, and beside that, the ‘Write a Review’ button. Click the button. Copy the entire URL that shows up in your browser.
Note: If you haven't created a Google Business listing yet, go here and follow the instructions.
Find your Google Business listing and click the 'Write a Review' button.
To copy the entire URL, place your mouse in the URL field, then click 'Ctrl + A' to select all, then 'Ctrl-C' to copy it.
1C. Return to bit.ly. Sign in and click the Create/Bitlink button. A window will slide open from the right.
Back at bit.ly, create a new Bitlink
1D. Paste the long URL from your Google Review page into the URL field. Click the ‘Create’ button at the bottom of the page. (Note: You may not have to click the button. Usually as soon as you paste in the link bit.ly will automatically create your shortlink)
Paste the long Google Business review URL here. ('Ctrl + V')
1E. Change the back-half of the shortlink from the automatically generated one to your practice name. You might have to get a little creative if the name is already being used. Click the ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the column to make the change.
Highlight the back-half of the shortlink and type in the name of your practice. If the name is already taken you might need to add 'dentist' or some other additional word to make the link unique. The shorter and easier to type your shortlink is, the more likely your patients will use it.
And, voila! Here’s your custom shortlink!
You can now return to bit.ly at any time and sign in to your account to retrieve your shortlink if you forget it.
Step 2: Create a QR Code
A QR code is an easy-to-use graphic that can be scanned by your phone’s camera using a variety of free QR code scanning apps. This is an easier and quicker alternative for those patients who have such an app. They appreciate the ease-of-use so you should definitely provide this option.
There are free QR code generators however we advise you pay the very reasonable $5 annual fee at www.qr-code-generator.com. If the free qr code supplier shuts down their site (and thus their database) your free QR code will stop working. By paying a very minimal fee you ensure that your code will always work, even years from now.
2A. Go to www.qr-code-generator.com and sign up for an account.
2B. Get your Google Review URL using your Google Place ID. (3-step detailed instructions follow)
Very Important: You cannot use the same long URL you used to generate your shortlink. It won’t work at qr-code-generator. Instead you need to create a long URL using your Google Place ID. Don’t worry. It’s only one extra step and it’s easy to do.
2B 1. Go to Google Place ID Finder and enter your practice name as it appears on your Google Business Listing. Note you must enter your practice name, not the URL of your website. Google will provide a drop down of business names it thinks matches your entry. Click on your practice.
Go to Google Place ID Finder and enter your practice name as it appears on your Google Business listing. Select your practice from the drop-down list.
2B 2. When you click your business name, Google Place ID Finder will open a map showing the location of your practice and a box with your Google Place ID. Double check to make sure this is the right location. Leave this window open. You’ll need it in a minute.
2B 3. Now copy this address here and paste it into any editing software such as Word or Notepad.
Then return to the Google Place ID Finder and highlight and copy your Google Place ID. Add it to the address above as shown in the example below. This is your full Google Review Link using your Google Place ID. Once again, you must do it this way as the long URL you used to create your shortlink will not work when creating a QR Code (no, we don’t know why either, but trust us – we’ve tried it more than once). Paste the ID characters only after the equal sign. Make sure there are no extra spaces.
Add your Place ID to the link as shown
2C. Now return to www.qr-code-generator.com and click the ‘+ Create QR Code’ button. On the next screen select ‘Website’ (the first option on the upper left). Click ‘Next’.
Click the Create QR Code button to start the process of creating your own QR code. Ignore the existing qr codes in this image. Those are just other codes we've recently created. You won't see those in your account. On the next screen (not shown) select 'Website' as the link type. Then click 'Next' again.
2D. A new window will open. Paste the URL you just created into the Website field. Add a label. This label is just for you to remember what this QR Code is for. No one else will see it. Click ‘Next’.
Paste your Google Review Place ID URL into the Website field. The label is just for you so you know what this QR Code is for.
2E. Design your QR Code. We like the option shown as we feel it makes it foolproof for your patients to use. You can change the color, add icons and custom text if you like, although we prefer to keep it simple. If your patients have a QR Code scanner app they will know what the QR Code is. Click the download button to download a bitmap of your QR code.
There are number of design options for your QR Code, but we think the default works best. Once you're happy with the look of your QR Code, click the Download button. Store the file somewhere you won't lose track of it.
Step 3. Test!
Very important! Now that you have your shortlink and QR Code test both (the shortlink on both your laptop and your phone, and the QR Code by adding a qr code scanner to your phone if you don’t already have one). Make sure the links go to your Google Business listing and automatically open the review window.
Step 4. Lay out and Order Your Cards
If you have some expertise with a layout program such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw you can do this very simple layout job yourself. If this isn’t one of your skills, not to worry. Most good online printers offer layout services. You can provide them with your logo, the QR file and the shortlink. Then give them the link to this page where they can see our sample card near the top of this tutorial. They can very quickly lay out your card to match.
Here are two top-rated online printers who not only provide layout services, but will have your cards printed and delivered to your office, often within days of your order.
If their quote for laying out the card is more than you want to pay, there is an alternative option. Go to Fiverr.com. You’ll be able to hire a graphic designer at a very reasonable price to create a print-ready file for you.
Step 5. Use Them!
Have your staff carry some cards with them, or keep a stack at your front desk. Whenever a patient seems pleased with their treatment, give them a card and politely ask if they would mind leaving a review. It is perfectly possible to collect one or more reviews per day this way and rapidly shoot to the top of the Google Map Pack!
They don't work if you don't use them, though. We're surprised at how often we provide these cards to clients who say they are hungry for more business, but after a month or two it's clear they are not using them as they haven't gathered any new reviews. We promise this strategy not only will get you a top ranking on the Google Map Pack, but that it works better than any other method we've encountered. But it only works if you use them.